Your Body is a Temple, Not an Idol

A Biblical Perspective on the Body and the Apologetic of Body Care

There are countless fake quotes floating around the Internet, but one that irks me more than most is this one, which is misattributed to C.S. Lewis:

You don’t have a soul.

You are a soul.

You have a body.

Lewis never said this, and I’m certain he would have condemned such a statement as theologically erroneous. It smacks of Gnosticism, an ancient heretical worldview that includes the idea that the material stuff of the world is evil. In this view, human beings are spirits who are temporarily trapped in corrupting physical bodies that cause us to sin (Gnostics denied the incarnation of Jesus).

The orthodox Christian view of human beings is that we are an integration of body and soul, and that both substances (to use the word philosophers favor) are required for full humanity. In his and her original, pre-lapsarian state, mankind was declared good–unspoiled and pleasing to God. Humans were given bodies for work, pleasure, and procreation. Then, through human free will, sin entered the picture and caused corruption to both body and soul. Today, all of us bear the glory of God’s image, but we also bear the scar of sin, physically and spiritually.

In the Christian world today, the vast majority of discipleship centers upon the proper care and feeding of the soul. After all, salvation is a soul issue and our earthly bodies are mortal “tents” that, unlike the soul, will not endure past death. Teachings about our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit typically focus on what not to do with our bodies—sexual immorality, predominantly. Note 1 Corinthians 6:

Musings On the Holy Spirit, Water, and Sacrament

Six Characteristics of Adolescent Atheism

from Hard-Core Christianity by Melissa Cain Travis

A while back, I posted an article entitled, “What an Apologist’s Job is Not,” in which I advised fellow apologists on how to recognize (and stop wasting time in) futile interactions. This post is sort of a follow-up, in response to the ongoing positive feedback I’ve received on the piece. My objective this time is to outline six common characteristics of “Adolescent Atheism”–a brand of poorly-informed, logic-disregarding, verbally hostile atheism that doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously.

NOTE: I do not use the term “adolescent” in the pejorative sense here; rather, I mean it in the technical sense–the condition of not being fully matured. Adolescent Atheism is a state of arrested intellectual development with marked characteristics that I will discuss below. Please also note that I am not stereotyping all non-believers; I fully recognize that some are careful to avoid the following errors.

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One Question I Ask My Atheist Friends

from Hard Core Christianity by Melissa Cain Travis

one-questionI’d like to preface this post by clearly stating that my observations are not necessarily representative of the atheist population as a whole. What follows is merely a description my personal encounters. I’ve been having discussions with non-believers for a long time. Over the years, I’ve noticed distinct trends in how thoughtful, educated atheists and agnostics tend to respond to various arguments. As an apologist, it is important that I am able to better anticipate objections, so this field experience has been priceless in helping me better prepare myself for effective dialogue. One of the reasons I maintain this blog is to share the insights I’ve gained. It occurred to me a while back that it would be very interesting to pose this very simple question, as an experiment of sorts, to see how my atheist friends would respond.

“Are you glad that atheism is the truth?”

Whenever I’ve asked this question, the conversation has usually gone something much like this:

“Let me ask you something totally unrelated to the evidence for God and Christianity.”


“Are you glad that atheism is the truth?”

“Of course I’m glad it’s true! Why would I argue for its truth if I wasn’t glad about it?”

“What makes you glad that it’s true?”

“Well, for one thing, it’s the only way that humans can have genuine free will. Under Christianity, there’s no free will, there’s only God’s will. Under atheism, I choose how I live my life.”

This response is psychologically revealing, theologically erroneous, completely out of step with materialism (the philosophy that nothing besides the material universe exists), and frankly, absurd.

Let’s think about it.

Design, the Designer, and a Singing Lion

from Hard-Core Christianity by MELISSA CAIN TRAVIS

Neo-Darwinian evolutionists of our day do not deny that the natural world has many characteristics that give the appearance of design. They call this a case of “apparent design,” denying that it is “actual design”; in other words, the depth, complexity, and integration we observe in nature simply looks like the product of an intelligent designer but they aren’t. Rather, they are the outcome of purposeless natural processes that have been plugging along, unguided, for eons. (A naturalistic orchestration Richard Dawkins has called the “blind watchmaker.”) By contrast, Intelligent Design proponents observe the appearance of design in nature and attribute it to an intelligent agency.

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What Our Attitude About Music Says About Our Faith

from Your Mom Has a Blog by   – 2 Comments

(Disclaimer:  The following is in no way directed at our amazing church or at any past churches.)

I love church.  I love the people, the environment, the spirit, the fun.  It’s just an incredible place to spend big chunks of your time.   Serving God.  Worshiping. Loving people.  Re-focusing.  Supporting and encouraging one another.

It seems that the older our nation gets the more unpopular church is.  It’s a trend I understand in some ways.  God promised us that this faith would be an unpopular one.  It’s kind of remarkable that we have enjoyed so many years of total freedom to worship as we choose with little to no persecution.

And, now, as times change and as the world gets scarier and we read about Christians dying for their faith, we begin to ask ourselves the deeper questions.  Would we have the courage to admit we’re Christians when guns are pointed at our heads?  Would we be strong enough to encourage our children to stand for Christ, even if we knew it would mean their physical death?  Would we, like the martyrs of old, walk into the fire singing His praises, even while others around us denounce their faith and live?

We ask ourselves these painful questions.  And, more often than not our spirits swell up within us, and we really FEEL our belief and our trust in God and we say YES.  We say yes, we could and would stick with Christ and lose our lives.  Yes, we would have God-given courage.  Yes, we would give up everything for Him.  Yes, we would tell our children that dying for Him is better than living without Him.  We would give ourselves away for His glory, whatever it takes, however it happens.  We say YES.

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Sorry; No Such Thing as a Scientific Argument Against the Existence of God

from by Melissa Cain Travis

I love science. I mean, I REALLY. LOVE. SCIENCE. My earliest, most vivid memories of school go back to my kindergarten class at C. Wayne Collier Elementary School, watching film strips (remember those, children of the 80s?) about dinosaurs, volcanoes, or the solar system, being transfixed by the awesomeness. My deepest desire in the sixth grade was to attend Space Camp. To this day, I am a sucker for a good science book or documentary–when it sticks to the actual science. Unfortunately, many productions these days promote a deeply philosophical agenda that isn’t scientific in the least (think of the recent TV series, Cosmos, hosted by atheist Neil DeGrasse Tyson). The tragic result of such propaganda is that some impressionable Christians end up questioning the rationality of their belief in God.

However, the statement, “God does not exist,” has never been, is not now, and never will be a scientific assertion. (See what I did there, Sagan?) This means that science, by its very definition, cannot be the epistemic justification for atheism. Yet how often do we see popular atheist writers (Dawkins, Harris, Dennett, et. al.) base entire books on the claim: “God doesn’t exist! Let me show you the science!”

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Wreaking Havoc on Scientific Materialism: C.S. Lewis on Natural Law and Divine Action in Nature

Here is the first of two blogs by. this one is from Science, Reason, and Faith

This is a cross post of my new piece at HBU’s School of Christian Thought blog.

There are two rather standard responses from materialist scientists and philosophers to the suggestion that a creator God guides the development and sustains the order of nature:

1) Our current scientific theories on the evolution of all things are sufficient to explain all natural phenomena. The idea of a creator has been rendered superfluous.

2) Science doesn’t have it all figured out, and truth be told, it may never give us comprehensive knowledge of natural history or a full explanation for the stability and regularities of the cosmos, but plugging God into these knowledge gaps is no better than the ancient Greek practice of attributing thunderstorms to Zeus.

Standard practice for an apologist faced with such statements is to describe the evidence for cosmic and biological design or the shortcomings of naturalistic theories when it comes to explaining the indications of rationality in nature. The apologist uses science to argue for a God-designed, God-guided natural world. This is a solid technique and one that I often use. However, it isn’t the only angle from which to approach such a discussion, which is great news for faith-defenders lacking scientific expertise.

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The Life of the Mind: Intensive Study as an Act of Worship

from Hard-Core Christianity by Melissa Cain Travis

Georgetown University Professor Emeritus, Father James V. Schall, authored a marvelous book entitled The Life of the Mind: On the Joys and Travails of Thinking. Just the title was enough to give me shivers of anticipation when I first read it on a doctoral course syllabus. I had an inkling of the experience that awaited me, since previously, I had read Fr. Schall’s excellent work, The Order of Things. My expectations were exceeded, and The Life of the Mind is now on my top ten list of most recommended books.

Photo from my personal library--The Great Books of the Western World

In chapter 2, “Books and the Intellectual Life,” Fr. Schall discusses the importance of creating a bookish culture in the home—investing in a quality personal library (which he offers some guidance on) and thoroughly reading the books one owns with discernment and a spirit of eager desire for knowledge. “I think we ought also to read ceaselessly,” he says. “Reading, indeed, can itself be a form of prayer.”

Dozens of times I’ve been asked how I find the time to read and study as much as I do, and I usually give a very incomplete answer. “Oh, I don’t leave my house often, and I don’t watch much television.” Both are true, but the more important answer, the one I’ve been shy about articulating at any length, is that reading and intensive study are how I best worship. When I read Fr. Schall’s statement about reading being a form of prayer, I felt a great sense of affirmation.

Mind you, I’m not talking about Bible study in particular (though that is most certainly included). I experience a soul-state of worshipfulness when reading all sorts of things, from Pascal to Tolkien to Nicomachus to Shel Silverstein. Truth can be found in all kinds of literature! The early church fathers often talked about gathering God’s wisdom from far and wide, including from the works of non-Christian writers. Just as the Hebrews carried off the treasures of the Egyptians and used them to construct the Temple, so we are to seek and take truth from wherever we find it, pressing it into service for Christendom.

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